Monarchs star Justin Sedgmen ready for heavy schedule

Justin Sedgmen leads the way, main pic, and he is not daunted by the schedule
Justin Sedgmen leads the way, main pic, and he is not daunted by the schedule
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Justin Sedgmen likes to keep busy and is not at all fazed that he and his Edinburgh Monarchs team-mates face a frenetic last two months of the season as they battle for silverware on three fronts.

As he prepares for tonight’s Premier League speedway clash against Sheffield Tigers at Armadale, Sedgmen is philosophical about the weather which saw Monarchs suffer three washouts last month, causing a fixture backlog that is unlikely to be cleared until October.

With the possibility of two cup finals on the horizon plus a push for the league crown, Sedgmen is relishing what could be a mad scramble for glory. He said: “Everything will be okay, you can’t help the weather you just have to get on with it. I don’t think about it, I just rock up and ride. Some people have commented on the fixture situation, but we will deal with it and do the best we can. It is not going to place us under any undue pressure, it is our job to ride speedway.

“Everybody is well up for the challenge – you must ride every meeting like the last one and have some fun too. Look what is in front of you and just do it.” Monarchs have an arduous home double header at home to Redcar and then Glasgow next Friday before hosting Newcastle the following night as they look to ease the congestion.

Sedgmen insists such a hectic schedule can bring its own reward. “There is no downside to riding two meetings in one night, the good thing is the following week you get a bigger pay cheque. It is easy to over analyse a double-header situation, we’ll be fine with it.”

When Sedgmen joined Monarchs this term after staying home in Australia in 2013, his signing was perceived as something of a gamble. However he has proved to be a very useful performer in the No.2 position partnering Craig Cook in the opening heat each week.

Sedgmen expressed a quiet pride at how things have gone for him thus far and said: “It has been pretty good. You always want to do better but that is always the case with speedway riders.

“Over the next few weeks as we head towards the end of the campaign I will try to step things up a bit. I think I have been quite consistent and when I have scored nine points, I want ten. That is only natural and there is no way you should settle for just feeling satisfied.”

With Cook’s scoring power suffering some slippage due to on-going clutch problems, it has allowed other Monarchs riders to step into the spotlight. Sedgmen feels criticism of Cook has been over the top, however.

He said: “Craig has been struggling for a couple of months now, but a couple of months in his career is no big deal. I watched him at Coventry and Leicester last weekend and he scored good points at both places and I think he has overcome his gremlins now.

“We are all just doing what we did when Craig was winning races all the time. People have been going on about it a bit but to my mind Craig is still the best rider in the team. There is no point in dwelling on it just because Craig is scoring 11 points instead of 15.”

Sedgmen has made no secret of his desire to spread his wings further afield and recently completed two matches for Polish side Ostrow. He is keen to land more engagements with them.

He said: “I tried to do it at the start of the year and spoke to a few clubs. But I made it clear I wanted to concentrate on my Premier League commitments in order to settle in again after I didn’t ride here last season.

“Then Ostrow gave me my chance two weeks ago and I enjoyed it. I scored 16 points in total in both matches and I may get an opportunity to go back there shortly. You get different vibes racing in different countries and the stadiums in Poland are much bigger and a lot more people turn out to watch you. The tracks themselves are very large and there are no houses surrounding them so you can ride and practice whenever you want. There is a lot more freedom. The experience has set me up for a new challenge and I want to ride every weekend basically. It has to be small steps at a time, though.

“Ostrow won their league and have earned promotion for next year. They are also in their own domestic play-offs so I might get another opportunity with them soon if I can work round dates with my Monarchs fixtures.”

With an impending heavy race schedule to look forward to, it’s just as well that Sedgmen frowns upon being idle. Monarchs are also in league action at Rye House Rockets tomorrow night and are warm favourites to collect all four points at stake.

Redcar and Glasgow make up Monarchs’ double-header next week

Edinburgh Monarchs have confirmed that their rained-off derby clash against Glasgow Tigers will be restaged next Friday as part of a double-header against Redcar Bears.

Newcastle Diamonds, who were due on that date, will come to Armadale 24 hours later on Saturday September 13. It will be a 7pm start on both nights.

Monarchs chairman Alex Harkess said today: “I am grateful to the management of Newcastle and Glasgow and Armadale Stadium for readily agreeing to these changes. We want to finish at the top of the league before the cut off deadline for the play-offs which is next weekend and this gives us a chance to do that.

“We are of course at Glasgow on the Sunday as well and having four matches in three days is not the ideal scenario, but the weather has forced the situation on us.”

Monarchs are urging fans to turn out in force for the double header with co-promoter John Campbell admitting: “It will be, potentially, a big strain on the coffers of the club as the admission prices we have set will only create a break-even position for us. I do hope our supporters will come along and support the team and the club. A double header is not something I would arrange through choice, but it has become an absolute neccessity.”